The Circuit: Supercommittee failure hurts D-Block bill, SOPA to markup, Gates testimony

LEADING THE DAY: The failure of the supercommittee to reach an agreement on deficit reduction has slammed the brakes on a bill that would provide first responders with their own communications network, said Senate Commerce Chairman Sen. John “Jay” Rockefeller late Monday. The bill would have allocated a portion of spectrum known as the “D Block” to emergency and law enforcement workers across the country. Rockefeller said it also would have reduced the deficit by raising $6.5 billion in spectrum auctions.

“Winning ideas like S.911 cannot keep falling victim to this partisan stubbornness,” he said, promising to continue his efforts to get the bill enacted this year.

SOPA heads to markup: The Stop Online Piracy Act will head to markup Dec. 15, The Washington Post reported. A Hill aide from the Judiciary Committee, speaking on condition of anonymity because the bill is still being debated, said that chairman Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Tex.) is open to changes to the bill.

Gates testimony: Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates will testify again Tuesday in an antitrust case between Microsoft and Novell, the Associated Press reported. Novell claims that Gates was instrumental in the software giant’s alleged anti-competitive practices against Novell’s WordPerfect program.

U.S. District Judge Frederick Motz said he wasn’t completely convinced by Novell’s claims but denied Microsoft’s request to dismiss the case, the report said. He said he will let the case continue for another month.

Facebook study finds five degrees of separation: A new study from Facebook and its data team has found that 99.6 percent of all people on the social network can be connected within five steps, or six relationships. Ninety-two percent can be connected within four steps. According to the company’s data team, in 2008 the average amount of separation between any two given people on the network was 5.28 steps. Now, just three years later, it’s 4.74.

On average, Facebook users have about 100 friends.

HTC loses Apple infringement case: The U.S. International Trade Commission ruled that Apple has not infringed upon video patents held by Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC, Wall Street Journal reported. The panel said that there was no Apple violation and declared the investigation over. HTC was going after Apple using patents it acquired after buying S3 Graphics in order to broaden its patent portfolio.

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.

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